Thursday, January 30, 2014

Cedar WaxWings





When I see the holly hedges next to my driveway heavy with berries I know that that Cedar Waxwings will be visiting soon bringing with them their honor guards of Robins.  I think the Cedar Waxwings are the prettiest birds we have on the east coast but don't see
them often.  But every year like clockworks when the
holly berries are ripe they swoop in and when they leave not
a single holly berry remains. I have a big tree outside the
front door and it gets so weighted down with Waxwings and
Robins that it sags.  They eat the berries, fly off
over my walkway, dropping their loads of digested berries, fly down to the creek and drink gallons of water and then go back for more berries.  My wife is already complaining so tomorrow hopefully the temperature will rise above 20 and I will hose down the walkway and part of the
driveway where the holly hedges are.   Some years I
just open the garage door and photograph for the couple of hours
it takes them to clean the bushes. They are tough to photograph because of the sheen on their feathers is very easy to overexpose. They always arrive together, the Waxwings and the Robins.  I will see Robins all year but not a peep out of the Waxwings until
next year this time!!   

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The seaside views in the NorthEast Unitied States are visibly different than the views we grow accustomed to in the South.  In the South we have learned to expect and assosiate sand with the beach, nice smooth easy on the feet sand.  In the Northeast US the seasides are mostly rocks and cliffs, big rocks, little rocks, dangerous rocks, but incredibly beautiful. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Exploring New England



The Photographic Society of America held it's 2013 Annual Conference in Portland, Maine. I used this as an excuse to visit areas I had never photographed before that were stuck on my bucket list. Even though I had attended school in Connecticut and flew I and out of Boston many times in my career, I had never visited the many outstanding photo destinations there. I visited the Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth several times. In fact, I think I photographed it from every possible angle including from a lobster boat. This is one of the ones that I liked...



I spent several days on Cape Cod and enjoyed discovering it's many delights. Provincetown sits at the very tip of Cape Cod. The pilgrims first landed at Provincetown but after a skirmish with the native Indians they moved on to Plymouth. After having my daily Lobster Roll and a Sam Adams I stepped outside the Lobster Pot in Provincetown to this brilliant sunset scene.  



The next morning after a disappointing sunrise I drove over to this beach scene. I was awed by the cloud formations and this made up for the like of color in the sunrise location.



Now back to the job of editing the thousands of images captured during a 6-week discovery tour up and down the eastern seaboard.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I am finally making a bit of headway on the images I captured and brought home with me from the Western US parks I visited last September and October.  The problem is that every time I come across one that impacts me, I can't resist processing it to align with the way I remembered the scene and the next thing I know it is 3am again and time to get some sleep!!  The Elk which can be found in most of the parks continue to pique my interest.  First of all, they are massive animals and the males are huge with massive antlers....huge!!!  The males hang out together most of the year and completely ignore the females but for the fall breeding season when their attention fixates on the females and they work night and day on building their harem of females and keeping them intact until bred properly.  That is a tough job because they don't settle on a few females but seem to be driven to claim every female in the territory.  And, of course, this causes interesting conflicts resulting in exciting battles between the males.  It is such a spectacle that folks come from thousands of miles, bring their lawn chairs into the parks and line the meadows where the Elk usually bed down for the night and the shenanigans serve as entertainment to thousands and a big photo op for photographers who emerge from every corner of the earth. This big buck had gathered a harem of about 14 females and these 4 had wandered away attracting another male who tried to herd them towards his harem.  This bull successfully chased him away and is now (I imagine) chastising the females as he prepares to drive them home!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Yosemite in September

Yosemite is one of those places where great images are always in front of  you and the challenge is to find a way to let everyone else see what you see and hope they think the same.  On the other hand, I find myself more often in the  situation where I like what I see and don't care whether anyone else does or not.  This is one of those times.  As I rounded the bend towards the Cathedral group this field of flowers with the mountain cliffs in the background seem to sing to me.  So I stopped and joined in the chorus!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Red-Winged Blackbirds

  

Visited a nearby wildlife refuge today. PeeDee NWR near Wadesboro, NC.  Normally this time of year there are thousands of ducks of all shapes and types. They are busy flooding the cornfields which are the feeding pens for the migrating waterfowl.  But no ducks, no geese, not much of anything except thousands of red-winged Blackbirds gorging themselves.  The migrating water fowl must be really confused by the weather still being so warm up north and deciding why fly that long distance!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Hart Square Village


Hart Square Village is a period village in the foothills of Western North Carolina.  Hart Square in Catabaw County NC is open to the public one day per year and tickets go on sale the first Monday of Oct for the event on the fourth Saturday of October. Hart Village has molasses making, wood fired Pottery kilns, Horse drawn cotton Baler and Moonshine still...and tons of photo opportunities.  My first visit, I went with my mind set on making some good portraits of the period characters in the village for possible entry into Exhibitions and in the portraits category.  It was all that I had ever heard of it and I had a fantastic day and even succeeded in making a few credible portraits.  These are 2 of my favorites.  If you look carefully you will see that the first one has a bit of a "self-portrait" component.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

We often search for something weighty to say for our blogs and when nothing comes to mind we often don't say anything.  I have received several slight jabs lately asking me why my blog is silent these days and I am at a loss to have a good answer.  Except when I think of it, I often have nothing important to say and don't want to bore what followers I have and ... say nothing!  It occurred to me when I was returning home from the Blue Ridge area of the Appalachian Mountains that most folks follow me for the opportunity to view my images more than listen to me wax eloquently about nothing important.  So this post is simply to share with you the above image.  I spent 2 fascinating hours at a site close to the Blue Ridge Parkway and only left because lightning joined the thunderstorm and I thought it would be wise to get out from under the tree that was giving me pretty good cover from the rain.  I was amazed when I finally got around to downloading the images to find that I only clicked the shutter about 30 times during that 2 hours.  The rest of the time I stood rooted watching and enjoying this big patch of Turks Caps in peak condition and hundreds of butterflies flitting about enjoying the nectar.  I have seen and photographjed Turks Caps before but I had never seen before such a BIG field of them and the butterflies were an added bonus.  I feel blessed for having been guided there by Cindy Probst, an Asheville photoghrapher, who is intimately familiar with the Blue Ridge and the Smokies and every flower and plant that grows there.  She shared her "secret" location in one of her email journals and I will be forever grateful to her for this one!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Florida Roadtrip 2012

Arrived today in Ft Myers Beach for a few days to visit the many birding spots in the are.  It has been a great trip so far. Last week I was in the St Augustine and spent some time in the Rookery in the Alligator Farm. This is a shot of a young Roseate Spoonbill stretching its wings. Earlier that morning his sibling met an untimely death by falling off the edge of the nest and into the Alligator Pond. He was quite weak since this one seemed to hog all the food.  I wonder if birds can feel remorse knowing that indirectly he caused his siblling's death!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Wow! Events...
When we speak of spectacular events, we often think of events like the great migration in Kenya or the like but all around us are "lesser" spectacular events that take our breaths away!!  In Columbia, SC at the Riverfront Park, each year the shad (fish) make their journey upstream to spawn, passing through an area full of rocks and a dam wherein the rangers have built a fish ladder to help the Shad navigate upstream.  As the shad swim upstream in schools, somehow the birds are informed and arrive in great numbers to gorge themselves on the unlucky shad that happen to not reach the fish ladder and become lunch to gulls, herons, egrets, commorants, terns and other birds that gather at the dam area in anticipation of their arrival.  When the conditions are just right, they are a sight to see!!  I got on the road this morning at 6:30am to witness once again this feeding frenzy!! My friend and I were greeted with this sight!!
A special treat was the arrival of an Osprey and I was immediately impressed by the intensity with which this guy peered down into the water hunting for his lunch.
And then he locked onto his prey beneath the water and dove headfirst into the river only to emerge with this huge fish in his talons.
After that things settled down as the birds waited for a school of shad and then began their fishing in earnest.
How great thou art!!!